|Second-place age group medal from the race.|
The current race, however, is slightly different from when I ran in it previously. It starts and ends at West End Park. The Southwest 5K also included cross country elements, such as running a grassy unimproved stretch of the Beltline for the start. Today's race was all on asphalt or concrete.
The race announcer said this year had the most participants for this race and you could kind of tell near the start, which was delayed 15 minutes so race officials could process a large line of people who still hadn't gotten their bibs yet. (It looked like almost 100 people before the race).
I'd already done my mile warmup prior to the scheduled 7:30 a.m. start. There was really nothing to do but wait.
When the gun started, I took off with everyone else running along rolling hills of city streets for the first six tenths of a mile until the course wound around to the Beltline concrete trail.
I'd been moving at about a 6:40/mile pace, which felt ok to me but turned out to be not that great. My first mile was 6:47.
I can tell by my data that at 1.22 miles, my cadence fell apart. I started to run slower and was passed by several guys with gray hair, including the guy who ended up with 1st place in my age group (he ran it in 21:11, which would be a PR for me and nothing I probably could have shot for this day).
Still, I tried to keep up as well as I could. I ran Mile 2 in 7:17 and at that point the race leaves the Beltline to to a turnaround on Langhorn Street SW. This meant going down a hill and going up the hill on the turnaround, so you can see who's ahead of you and who's behind you.
The hill ends at about 2.6 miles when it turns on Oak Street Southwest and it is mainly downhill from here. I ran Mile 3 in 7:23 and waited until the last turn to the finish to really kick. My watch has me running the last .05 miles at a 5:34/mile pace.
I finished in 21:45, which I was kind of surprised to do. Still, my watch had me short of 3.1 but I felt like it was a good effort, even though I need to work on my endurance for the latter half of the race.
I walked back to my car and changed my shirt and got some nuun to hydrate before coming back. With all the gray haired guys who passed me earlier in the race I wasn't confident I even placed in my age group but was happy to have placed second.
This race felt like a good warmup for future 5Ks. I have specific things I want to do with my 5K training and feel like a PR will be waiting ahead.
Time: 7:45 (scheduled start was 7:30 a.m.)
Temp: 75 degrees (90 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical shirt, sleeveless (Brooks), shorts (Brooks), Feetures socks, Newton Gravity V.